KKL-JNF's Eshtaol Nursery provides trees and shrubs for Israel's central region, to as far as Yokne'am in the north. There are not many sites left for planting new forests in this area, so over 350,000 saplings are grown annually for forest renewal, replacement of burnt trees and public and urban spaces. Busses come here all the time with overseas delegations, schoolchildren, soldiers, employees of various companies and organizations, or people just driving by. They learn about KKL-JNF's work and how it keeps Israel green.
The Eshtaol Nursery recently supplied saplings for the Ariel Sharon Park on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, helping to create a green lung
for Israel's largest urban center.
The Eshtaol nursery also provides trees for special occasions, including tree plantings by visiting heads of states at KKL-JNF's Grove of the Nations, for ambassadors and other VIPS, for conferences and fairs and more. In May 2010, Pope Benedict XVI visited Israel, and Yehiel Cohen, deputy director of KKL-JNF's central region, chose an olive tree sapling from the Eshtaol nursery to be planted in the gardens of the President's Residence in Jerusalem. "I was asked to choose one of our finest specimens," Mr. Cohen said at the time. "We transported the olive tree to the President's Residence, where the Pope completed its planting and declared it the Tree of Peace." Shula
, who lives in nearby Beit Shemesh, has been working at the nursery since 1982. "I work about 8 1/2 hours a day, and I am almost always outdoors. I've been able to work at the same job for so many years because there's always something different to do, dependent on the season of the year. I love nature, so for me, working at the nursery is a real labor of love."
In the future, there are plans to construct a new visitor's educational center where people will be able to learn about the nursery's work firsthand.